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2016年1月 Monthly archive

Shrine
I spent 2 weeks in my lovely home country Japan for the first time in 2 years for this Christmas and New Year. It’s great opportunity to know what happened there last year, and more importantly, to what local’s attention has been paid. Yes, my holiday was also a covert research – qualitative through informal group and one-to-one conversations with 42 individuals in 4 cities. As a result, 2 major themes have emerged – sport and entertainment, and business and technology, as explained below.

Sport and entertainment
Upcoming international sporting events are the central of attention. Towards the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019, rugby has been a good momentum thanks to the unprecedented effort of the national team this autumn in England. One said “I have never imagined that rugby becomes a popular sport in my lifetime”. Players are on TV intensively, but attention has been paid to their personalities rather than sporting excellence. Tokyo Olympics 2020 has been an another buzz evoking issues: new national stadium plan was scrapped due to estimated cost, and emblem was also scrapped owing to alleged pragialism. The controversy goes into organisational governance of Tokyo 2020 team. In terms of entertainment, the popularity of a pop group AKB 48 has been gradually gone and J Soul Brothers has emerged.

Business and technology
Governance was also issue in the corporate world – accounting misconduct was revealed at Toshiba, and safety misconduct was revealed at Takata. One has pointed out that those governance issues have never been solved, and are very much something we’ve seen once before. Positive side can be inbound tourism. Every single person mentioned the increase of tourists from other countries, especially China, and one even said “see, the half of people here are not Japanese” at a major station in Osaka. In the communication industry, native advertising and stealth marketing has been argued. Native advertising can be a stealth marketing effort unless appropriate signpost is shown on articles. This has emerged by a PR firm poorly disclosed ‘non-credit’ (paid but not shown as advert) publicity as their service. In terms of technology, AI, IoT and FinTech has been buzz-words. It’d be interesting to see if practical implementation and its implication are found in 2016. I joked “some media might describe ATM as FinTech”.

Reflecting those issues, one said “there are too many negative stories” and I agreed. Will see what happens in 2016, and hopefully a lot of positive ones!

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